blue climbers camp tent on a cliff face

Portable Environments Studio – Big Wall Climbers Camp

Clothing is our own portable environment. Protective clothing can be the barrier between life and death in many activities. It can protect us from unsafe conditions, harsh environments, help us improve athletic performance, and even give us the ability to fly, swim to incredible depth or float in outer space.

In the Design Studio course, students identify and design products, environments, and component complexes of broad scope. Beyond fashion and more than functional apparel, these products are both designed and engineered. Students design products ranging from functional apparel to body-worn devices and protective gear with a focus on mobility and the use of flexible textile-based materials.

This project Big Wall Climbers Camp Ariel by student Jae-Hyun An designed a portable environment designed to be stable against strong winds, resistant against abrasion, fast to set up, and dual-purpose for both ground and wall spacious for two climbers.

What we did

  • Design research
  • Market research and competitive analysis
  • Design brief
  • Concept development
  • Paper draping, pattern making and sewing
  • Ideation and prototyping
  • Testing and model making
  • Presentation

Clients / Collaborators

Side view of triangular Climbers Camp tent
A diagram shows materials for tent components

Problem Statement

With the increasing popularity of rock climbing around the world, there is also an increase in the injuries that climbers are facing. Alpine big walls are the tallest and harshest of rock climbs that can take several days to overcome. Above exhaustion, hypothermia, high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), and common fall injuries; the strong winds, and extreme heights make injuries hard to aid or even find rescue (Bowie).

Portable Environments tent ideation sketches
climbers tent design ideation sketches

Design Process

The design process began by understanding the needs and priorities of the user, followed by conducting market research to explore existing products in the market that can act as inspiration for the design. Different formats were developed over multiple iterations with regular user testing.

partial climbers tent assembly
climbers tent collapsed view
climbers tent material and zipper close-up
black tent anchor hardware detail


The final design uses structural technology used in architecture and climbing products to break wind currents and absorbs shocks from earthquakes and rockfalls whilst still being a portable environment that allows full mobility.